Brightside car insurance has its roots in the commercial vehicle market but this Bristol-based broker and financial services player has steadily pushed into the car and home insurance space, increasingly helped by high-tech analytics.
Defaqto: 3/5 stars
Independent assessor Defaqto gives Brightside a three-star score for its private car insurance policies.
Note: Not all Defaqto products with the same star ratings have the same covers and terms.
While sometimes perceived as a ‘niche’ player – think harder-to-cover motorists with convictions or poor credit and address history – Brightside says it’s simply responding to “everyday differences, which can happen to anyone”. In other words, there’s a strong emphasis on your own circumstances and priorities.
Brightside also offers motorbike, taxi, home and business insurance. All their call centres are UK-based. Its insurance backers include blue-chip names like Aviva, LV, AXA and Ageas plus smaller operators.
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Comprehensive car insurance from this broker includes personal accident cover from £5,000 - £50,000 depending on the scheme, plus windscreen insurance. Windscreen cover is optional if you plump for Third Party Fire and Theft or just Third Party.
European cover is included as is courtesy car cover. Brightside’s use of a panel of providers promises a fair amount of flexibility and several optional extras to buy. Breakdown cover is not included but you can buy it as an extra, plus cover for excess protection and keys.
Brightside car insurance offer three choices of cover:
Third Party Fire & Theft
Third Party Only
Yes. Some companies refer to ‘black box’ cover as ‘telematics’. Black Box protection can sometimes be better value – cheaper – than standard insurance. That’s because it assumes the driver will take more care because the data is always being monitored and analysed (think speed, braking and what time of day you’re driving).
If you haven’t bought black box cover before watch for additional penalties if you incur speeding penalties.
Fully comprehensive cover generally includes, depending on the policy:
Courtesy car if your vehicle needs repair following an accident
Windscreen cover including repairs or replacement if needed
While some insurers include 60 days of European cover, Brightside offers up to 90 days at no extra cost
Personal accident insurance protection is included with at least £5,000 worth of cover if a serious or unexpected injury is incurred while you’re on the road
Motor Legal Expenses Insurance including a helpline for support and advice and legal expenses to help the driver and passengers claim compensation for any uninsured losses
There’s full online access to your insurance documents
All Brightside’s comprehensive policies cover repair and replacement of the windscreen. Repair to your car’s bodywork that has been damaged by broken glass from the windscreen is also covered. A claim on this alone won’t affect your no-claims discount. However sunroof or other glass damaged in an accident will be a claim on your insurance and likely affect your no-claims discount.
The traditional personal belongings cover is offered but bear in mind if you’re a hard-to-insure driver your particular policy may be lighter on features than average. Some products will discourage claims with high excesses.
There’s a roster of extra car insurance options to ‘top up’ if needed, see below. The advantage to having these added as separate options means a claim on them doesn’t directly impact a no-claims discount.
Three different levels of RAC breakdown cover are offered by Brightside, all only cover a single vehicle so do make sure you choose the cover that’s right for you. Roadside & Recovery, for example, won’t cover you if your car breaks down outside your home but it will tow you to anywhere in the UK if needed.
There is no callout service but Brightside will repay your costs of up to £1,500 for locksmiths’ charges plus associated lock and key costs should you lose your keys, or if they’re simply lost or stolen. To claim for lost or stolen keys you must report this incident to the police and obtain a crime reference number as an insurance condition. Do keep all your receipts for all costs so reimbursement is straightforward when you come to claim.
There’s up to £1,000 protection to reclaim back any claim excess. This can help you check for a more competitive insurance quote using a higher “voluntary” excess, adding the protection in case of the worst. Any excess regarding glass, windscreen or key excess however is not covered.
Many courtesy car ‘cover’ featured in car insurance policies carry the words ‘subject to availability’. Having this extra product provides a guarantee and gives you a car for situations not normally covered, such as unrecovered theft. Cover is limited to 14 days and a 1600cc vehicle – which should cover most people’s needs.
Anyone who’s had their car modified in any way
Those with higher performance vehicles
A driver who might have built up motoring convictions
The Financial Ombudsman Service received 21 car insurance complaints about Brightside. To put that in context, 67 firms had 10 or more complaints each and those totalled 4,550 complaints. Nearly 200 firms had fewer than 10 each, sharing just 479 complaints between them.